Gateway Director of Events Marty Cook and alum Nick Share Their Thoughts on Life After Recovery

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Photo Credit: Jason Marck/WBEZ

For WBEZ’s final Voice of Chicagoland’s Opioid Crisis segment, host Jennifer White spoke to Gateway Foundation Director of Events Marty Cook and alum Nick about young people in recovery.

To listen to the segment, click here.

“I just imagine that the power, particularly for younger people, to walk into a room and they think their life is over because they’ll never have fun again, and when they walk into a room, they see there’s 50 other people their own age that look just like them, who are young and who are laughing and having fun, but share the same common disease of addiction but are overcoming it and living life.”

Marty Cook talks about the importance of young people in recovery being able to see that they can still have fun without the influence of drugs and alcohol.

 

“It’s hard to connect definitely in high school. It’s already hard being a teen, and drugs and alcohol gave me that connection.”

Nick speaks about the struggles he faced during his teens and what led him to ultimately starting drinking and using drugs.

 

“The work we’re doing at Gateway is to create an added layer of support for our alums. When they leave treatment they get connected to other people.”

Marty discusses the work he does for Gateway Foundation and the events he plans for the alumni program to make sure alums have a support system in place post treatment.

 

“Recovery is possible.”

While reflecting on success stories and the various alums he encounters at his alumni events, Marty speaks to the change he’s seen in those that have left treatment and stayed engaged in the alumni programs.

 

“I enjoy exactly what I do and I think I’m in the right place and where I need to be.”

If you or a loved one are considering Gateway as a treatment option, click here to learn more.

Recovery Story: Treatment Enables Victory over Drug Abuse

recovery-drug-abuse“Partying” was getting the best of Everett G., who had been abusing alcohol and crack cocaine for about 20 years. Over those years, he repeatedly let down his father, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews and damaged his relationships with his children and their mother. By the time his second child was born, the toll his abuse was taking became obvious to him.

Everett compares his experiences with cocaine and alcohol to being in a boxing ring, fighting a 12-foot monster. “I’m in the ring and I’m not even swinging any more – just taking punches. And I’m wondering why nobody threw in the towel, why nobody’s helping me. I turn around and look in my corner and I notice there’s nobody there, nobody at the fight with me. On December 10, 2013, I had the bright idea to get out of the ring.”

A staff member at Jackson Park Hospital recommended Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers to Everett and then his union steward and EAP representative at work helped him get into a program. Over the course of his alcohol and crack cocaine abuse, Everett had been in and out of six different treatment facilities.

“Participating in treatment at Gateway was one of the best experiences of my life. I knew I needed help again and I’m glad I went to Gateway,” Everett said.

As consequence of abusing drugs, Everett had closed himself off emotionally and spiritually, losing his connection with principles and his spiritual side. He believed he could lead a sober life if he could reconnect to his spiritual life. He explained, “I know the enemy is the disease and once it isolates me, it’s got me. Once I connect through the love and the people, it’s hard to go outside the lines and drink and use drugs again.” He said at Gateway, he felt a level of love he had never experienced before, but also points out that he was ready to receive that love.

Everett said that Paul, the director of the men’s unit at Gateway Chicago West, was especially influential and that he paid attention to every individual in the program. “His heart was in it and he helped me everywhere he could. I could go to him for anything,” Everett said, adding “Everyone was so approachable and I could go to anyone with a problem. The level of caring is just over the top.”

Everett said the coping skills he learned at Gateway prepared him for the “boxing match” he was going to have for the rest of his life. During his treatment, Everett discovered the best way to prepare for the fight was to stay out of the ring, or “stay away from people, places and things” that can bring you down. He pointed out that sometimes the fight comes to you, and compared his newly acquired coping skills to learning how to uppercut, jab and dodge to win the match.

Everett’s initial inpatient treatment program extended to 60 days and he’s grateful for Gateway’s help in working with his health insurance company to obtain the additional time in treatment he needed. Following his program, he went to a halfway house where he met people who were instrumental to his success on the second portion of his recovery journey. He chose to participate in both intensive outpatient (IOP) and basic outpatient (BOP) programs at Gateway. “The aftercare programs set Gateway Chicago West apart from anywhere else I went. The programs are there for you when you need the support” Everett said.

Everett sees staying connected as essential to his continued sobriety, participating in the Alumni Program and chairing its Leadership Program, through which he reaches out to people who are fresh from treatment to see how they’re doing and give them a sense of hope. He believes maintaining the friendships he made during treatment and making new connections is a great addition to his life. “My new friends understand what I’m going through in a way that people who are not in recovery cannot.” he explained.

Everett offers his interpretation of the significance of Gateway’s name. “They’re saying, ‘walk through this door and change your life.’  They provide the gateway, a process to live by.”

If someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, don’t wait. Call 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org to learn about insurance coverage, treatment options, and our free, confidential consultation. 

 

In Honor of National Recovery Month, Gateway Alumnus Shares the Story of his Road to Recovery

In Honor of National Recovery Month in September, John Fields, Gateway Alumnus Shares His Recovery Story:

National Recovery Month, Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment CentersBy the time John Fields turned to Gateway, he was having a drink as soon as he woke up in the morning. He had become aware his drinking was out of control and that he needed help. “I knew I couldn’t quit on my own. I needed a safe place where I didn’t have access to drugs or alcohol,” John said.

John wanted to get his mind clear so he could begin to think rationally again. He also wanted to learn how to live on the outside without using alcohol

“Gateway gave me what I needed most, a safe place and the tools and knowledge I needed to live a sober life outside of treatment,” John explained.

John had been sent to drug treatment centers in the past by family members or managers at a job but he’d never gone to treatment for himself. Each time, he’d end up returning to his same routines. He never followed up with meetings or became involved in an alumni program, and he thought he could resume his old lifestyle with friends.

This time around, he was highly motivated and he also did his homework. John said, “Gateway is a much nicer facility than the others I looked at and the staff is great. These people know what they’re doing.”

Read John’s full story at RecoverGateway.org/AlumniSuccess>

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